How to Dehydrate Fruits & Vegetables Using the Sun

Overview

Dehydrating fruits and vegetable is one of the oldest ways to preserve produce. The process of dehydrating food removes the moisture by exposing the food to high temperatures and moving air. The sun is ideal for drying apricots, figs, carrots, grapes, potatoes, pea and the like. The best weather to dehydrate fruits and vegetables is when the humidity levels are below 60 percent and the temperatures are above 85 degrees F (preferably closer to 100 degrees F).

Step 1

Wait for a stretch of at least three dry days when the weather is expected to reach 85 degrees F, or hotter.

Step 2

Chop the fruits and vegetables you want to dehydrate into small pieces or thin slices. Keep in mind the food will shrivel once it is dehydrated.

Step 3

Place the food on a screened tray (similar to those used to steam food or to cool baked goods) made out of stainless steel, plastic or fiberglass with Teflon. Make sure the screen is safe for food to touch.

Step 4

Place a piece of aluminum foil on the surface on which you will be dehydrating the fruits and vegetables. Place a cinder block on either side of sheet of foil to keep it in place.

Step 5

Place the tray on the pair of cinder blocks to elevate it off the ground and allow for air movement. The reflection of the sun off the aluminum foil will increase the temperature at which the food is drying.

Step 6

Place cheesecloth over the trays of food to protect the fruits and vegetables from thieving birds and insects.

Step 7

Bring the fruit and vegetables indoors at night, and back out the next morning. Continue this process until the food is properly dehydrated.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not try to dry meat in the sun or it will rot. Do not place foods on screens coated with galvanized metal, cadmium, copper, aluminum or zinc. These metals can cause the fruit to oxidize, decrease the nutrients within the food, and discolor or corrode the food. Leaving the food outdoors at night will hinder the drying process as the cool night air can add humidity to the food as the dew falls.

Things You'll Need

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Screened tray
  • 2 cinder blocks
  • Aluminum foil
  • Cheesecloth

References

  • DryIt.com: Alternative Heat Sources for Food Dehydration
  • All Things Emergency Prepared: How to Dehydrate Food
Keywords: dehydrate food, dry food, sun dry

About this Author

Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for Web sites, marketing materials, and printed publications such as "Student Paths." Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO, home design, health, beauty, fashion, emergency preparedness, education, teen issues and travel. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University, and was recognized by Cambridge's Who's Who in 2009.

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